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Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Falling For the Fun of It

By Ashleigh Naysmith | 14, Jul, 2011

Great view at 15000ft

Hello again! It has been a while since my last Daring Deed - turns out my new miniature climbing buddy isn’t a great training partner- she would much rather eat the chalk and mimic sheep and other farm animals than do any serious training.

So, in my break from climbing, I decided to have a little go at skydiving, and raise some money for charity at the same time. I chose to go for the Accelerated Freefall Level 1 jump which meant that I was totally in control of my own jump and parachute- but still had two instructors holding an arm and a leg – just in case!

On the morning of the training, I arrived at Skydive Hibaldstow to sign my life away. The whole set up seemed to be a very relaxed, familial community- much like that of climbing.

As I sat in the teaching room with the 3 other freefall wannabes; I was starting to worry I wouldn’t be able to learn everything within the day; having to know about all the equipment, how to fold up your chute, the altimeter and radios, the procedures, etc. We had some hands on learning on the ‘torture chair’ (a stool which you lie stomach down and practice your checks and procedure and so on; ‘arch-reach-recover’). Fortunately, I passed the theory exam at the end of the day.

The following week I came back to do the actual jump. I got all kitted up and went over the routine with one of the instructors from getting in the plane all the way to landing safely on the ground. There was quite a lot of waiting around and then I was called up! I suddenly regretted not having had a drink for a while and felt a little nauseous.

When I got on the small plane, the strong stench of the fuel made me feel very sick and so I spent the entire flight up trying not to act on it, and I was just desperate to get out!

We slowly climbed to 15000ft and it was time to go! I stood at the open door with an instructor on each side- then it was “look up… out… in… OUT…”. You couldn’t hear it for the wind and engine noise but I’ve never screamed so loud! It just came out. I got my head together pretty quickly and went through my checks. It doesn’t feel like you’re actually falling though, just floating very fast. My mouth felt quite dry- I’m surprised I didn’t swallow any bugs – guess they don’t go that high.

It all went so fast I couldn’t take it all in. And I’m pretty sure the force was causing me to have some very funny faces.

I threw my chute at 3000 feet (which feels like you’re being yanked upwards- but not in a painful way) and then got to admire the view as I was talked down over the radio. However, when I got to 30ft from the ground I flared my parachute too soon which meant I sped up again before hitting the ground. Ouch! Luckily, I’m used to hard falls. And then it was all over!!!

I had completed my level 1 AFF course. I would love to complete the course someday, just need to start saving! Donations are most welcome!!

Ashleighs jump is on our YoutTube channel.

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